Gardening for beginners, a resource guide to help you learn how to start a garden or add to your homestead.
This resource guide will be helpful even if you already have some gardening experience, but will be particularly useful if you’re looking for gardening help for beginners.
A Family Gardening Heritage
My husband and I come from a long line of gardeners.
My grandparents on both sides were either farmers or had a large garden. Dad was a farmer’s son and was passionate about gardening (and building his own greenhouses). And my mom has a B.S. degree in horticulture.
My husband’s dad also grew up on a farm and always tried to have a vegetable garden even into his senior years.
Although there have been a couple of years where we weren’t able to garden due to where we lived, my husband and I have tried to at least have a small garden for each of the twenty-plus years of our marriage.
There’s something therapeutic about working outdoors, digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and then harvesting baskets full of beautiful produce.
Growing your own food is so satisfying.
Having access to fresh herbs is another huge benefit from having a home garden. I love culinary herbs like rosemary and basil, but herbs can have so many medicinal uses as well.
RELATED: How to Make Your Own Comfrey Salve
Gardening for Beginners
I’ve always been a fan of gardening and homesteading. But now it’s even more important than ever to learn these skills.
Growing your own food allows you to save money on your grocery bill and eat healthier. It also makes you more self-sufficient.
That’s why learning how to garden and grow your own food is crucial right now. Even if you don’t have space for a traditional garden, grow things in containers on a back porch or balcony!
RELATED: Herb Gardening for Beginners
Even though it may seem complicated when you’re first getting started, keep going! It’s so worth it!
Gardening for Beginners Resource List
I’ve tried to select some of the very best resources that would be most helpful to new and intermediate gardeners.
Although not all of the resources are free, I’ve picked ones that I feel confident would be very useful to help you get started with your very own garden!
Affiliate links included below. Read my disclosure here.
1. The 100 Square Foot Garden
The 100 Square Foot Garden is a totally free downloadable PDF guide that provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to start an organic garden.
Although it doesn’t have a lot of photos and wouldn’t be considered a truly comprehensive guide, this free guide is a great place to start if you’re just getting into gardening and want to grow vegetables using organic standards.
It even has a fun section on kids’ gardens!
2. Top 10 Vegetables to Plant that Will Really Feed You
Top 10 Vegetables to Plant that Will Really Feed You is a great starter course for picking vegetables that are ideal for feeding a family.
The course features a video and manual sharing the course creators’ personal experiences and recommendations for vegetable gardening.
They also include tons of resources for further learning, including links to free articles from Wild Abundance, favorite books, and suggestions for sourcing high-quality, organic, open-pollinated seeds that have been bred for the home gardener.
This is an excellent course that you can check out here.
3. Autopilot Homestead
Although my family only has 1 acre, our goal over the years has been to be more self-sufficient in producing our own food.
While we just don’t have the space to do a full-blown homestead with large animals, even those with smaller acreage like ours can produce quite a bit – if you know the right way to go about it.
I recently came across the Autopilot Homestead program, and was really impressed with what I saw. Although it’s a big claim, this course describes itself as “the only course that will show you how to start a fully-functioning homestead from the ground up in as little as 7 days.”
Of course it will take a lot longer than a week to get everything up and running, but the idea of planning out your homestead and laying the foundation in a short period of time seems very doable.
Autopilot Homestead draws from the wisdom of several highly experienced homesteaders to cover everything from finding your dream land, to A to Z gardening tips, to raising eggs and animals, and much, much more!
Although this course seems primarily aimed at “preppers” or “survivalists,” there’s so much information here that would be useful even if you don’t consider yourself in that category. And with ongoing talk in the news about potential economic collapse and food shortages, I’m not so sure that being a “prepper” is such a bad idea!
Autopilot Homestead is reasonably priced and offers a 100% money-back guarantee. You can learn more about this comprehensive homesteading course here.
4. All New Square Foot Gardening
One of the names most synonymous with modern gardening is Mel Bartholomew.
Mel was an incredible gardener who was best known for his revolutionary concept of “square foot gardening.”
Mel’s system is an ideal approach to gardening for beginners. This system has helped millions of home gardeners grow more fresh produce in less space and with less work.
This is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking to start gardening particularly if you have limited space.
5. Backyard Healing Herbs
Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate the power of herbs to help with common family health conditions.
I also love growing herbs in my own backyard, and creating things like my own homemade comfrey salve.
There are some really good natural healing remedies, but sometimes it can be difficult to find just the right one, and buying premade herbal products can be much more expensive (and less fun!) than creating your own.
That’s why I was so excited to come across Backyard Healing Herbs by Donna Nicholson. Donna shares how to grow and make herbal remedies from herbs you harvest in your own backyard.
Donna even explains her “guardian method” to help protect your plants from pests and diseases without toxic chemicals.
Backyard Healing Herbs is an excellent guide for creating your own “healing garden” and is available as a digital download or as a physical product.
6. Over 20 Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas
One of the important things to consider when planning your garden is how to lay out the structure of your garden.
One really helpful free gardening resource is Over 20 Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas: Free Layouts for Raised Beds, Square-Foot Gardens & More from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
These clever vegetable garden layout ideas cover a whole range of options, from raised beds to kitchen gardens to flower gardens and more!
Check out these vegetable garden layout ideas here.
7. The Complete Grape-Growing System
I don’t know about you, but one of my very favorite fruits are grapes. If you love the taste of fresh grapes and would like to grow your own, you should check out The Complete Grape-Growing System.
This system was created by James “The Grape Guy” and is an amazingly comprehensive guide to growing grapes.
Whether you’d like to have a few grape vines or go into large-scale grape growing, this system covers all the steps needed to get up and running.
James shares about mistakes he made when first growing grapes and how he discovered simple yet powerful techniques to harvest loads of tasty grapes.
I looked through some recent comments from people who’ve gone through The Complete Grape-Growing System and they report how happy they are with the results.
GrowJourney is a USDA certified organic, heirloom seeds of the month club.
Their mission is to make it easy for you to grow your own healthy, organic food from seed, and they do a lot to back up that mission!
GrowJourney was founded and is operated by organic gardeners, master gardeners, and gardening teachers.
Each month, GrowJourney members receive carefully selected varieties of delicious heirloom fruit, veggie, herb and edible flower seeds. All seeds are certified organic, guaranteed to grow where you live and packaged to last for years.
One really neat feature that sets GrowJourney apart is that they don’t just provide great seeds; they provide great education.
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced gardener, the GrowJourney team of expert organic gardeners put together detailed guides, growing tips and other resources designed to make organic gardening simple.
When you have a gardening question, members of the GrowJourney team are available via email, social media, and the website’s live chat to answer your gardening questions and provide help whenever you need it.
GrowJourney‘s subscription options are designed to match any garden size–from a few patio pots to multi-acre edible landscapes.
Looking for the perfect present for that special gardener in your life? GrowJourney also offers seed of the month gift subscriptions.
9. The Grow Network Academy
Marjory Wildcraft, founder of The Grow Network, has been teaching others about restoring heirloom genetics in gardens and livestock, and returning to natural medicine, for many years.
She has hosted several summits on homesteading, growing your own food, and natural medicine, and is creator of the “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series.
The Grow Network has a very impressive Grow Network Academy with online resources about saving heirloom seeds, backyard chickens, becoming an “instant master gardener,” and much more!
The way you get access to the Grow Network Academy is by joining The Grow Network’s Honors Lab. For only $10.00 a month (or $100.00 annually), you get complete access to all of the online courses in the Grow Network Academy.
It would be well worth $10.00 to get access to just one of these courses, but for a limited time a membership provides complete access to all courses.
Once you complete one of the step-by-step eCourses, you get a printable course completion certificate, with new certifications added every quarter!
10. Composting for Beginners Course
If you’re new to gardening, you may have heard of composting but not be familiar with what it actually is.
Composted material is one of the most valuable nutrient sources for a healthy garden, and this free Composting for Beginners Course is a perfect introduction!
Course host Emma Raven is an experienced organic gardener who does a great job describing composting and helping new gardeners get their compost pile up and running.
11. Growing Your Greens YouTube channel
The Growing Your Greens YouTube channel is one of the best gardening channels currently available.
The channel host John has been producing videos since 2009 and covers a very wide range of gardening tips and techniques.
John is extremely knowledgeable about gardening and his videos are always full of helpful information.
12. Lost Book of Remedies
For most of my adult life I’ve been interested in using natural remedies such as herbs to help with common ailments.
And once I became a mom, I was thankful to learn about home remedies to help my kids with things like stomach aches, viruses, and skin conditions.
My husband (who also is interested in herbal healing) and I obtained a review copy of Dr. Nicole Apelian’s Lost Book of Remedies. This book is really good!
Dr. Nicole suffered from chronic health conditions and describes how she used herbs to overcome these challenges.
Her book goes into extensive detail about all aspects of herbal healing, including a medicinal herbal reference guide, how to identify and harvest herbs (including those you grow and those in the wild), and how to make your own home remedies from herbs.
Although Lost Book of Remedies does not go into detail about how to grow herbs, it discusses plants that are easy to grow and would be a great companion to the Backyard Healing Herbs guide I mentioned previously (#5 above).
Lost Book of Remedies is definitely a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their knowledge in identifying and using plants for healing purposes.
You can watch a video by Dr. Nicole where she explains her own health crisis and how herbs have been key to her own healing and that of many others.
13. Rodale My First Garden
The Rodale Institute is one of the oldest organic gardening organizations in America. My husband and I still have one of their original gardening books published 50 years ago.
The Institute has a free My First Garden program aimed at preschoolers and kindergarten-aged children, although it could also be used with elementary-aged kids.
This program covers important gardening concepts like where food comes from and how seeds grow. You can download the complete curriculum with lessons, activities and materials needed.
The My First Garden program would be ideal for home schools or classroom education to teach kids about gardening and the importance of organic principles in food production.
14. Discover Beekeeping
I absolutely love watching bees buzz happily around my garden. And once I learned how important they are for the health of all plants, I gained even more appreciation for my little bee friends.
I have so many goals for our little homestead, but getting into beekeeping is near the top of the list.
If I were just getting started with beekeeping, I would want to check out the Discover Beekeeping guide.
Written by beekeeper and hive builder Nick Winters, the Discover Beekeeping guide covers step-by-step instructions for getting started with beekeeping and producing your own honey.
Nick’s detailed training manual covers all the things you’ll need to know when setting up a hive, including the most popular type of bee and where to locate your bee colony.
The Discover Beekeeping guide also contains lots of illustrations so visual learners (like me!) can see what is being discussed.
This truly looks like one of the best guides to beekeeping available today.
15. Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners
While there are some good free beginner gardening resources available, it’s usually true that you get what you pay for. In this case of this book, you don’t have to pay a lot!
Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden by Tammy Wylie is a fantastic resource for learning all about raised beds.
My husband built our first raised bed nearly 20 years ago, and we have had raised beds in each house we’ve lived in since that time.
Tammy gives practical and understandable advice for beginners to get going on constructing and using raised beds
I can definitely see why Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners is one of the top-selling gardening resources available!
16. Back to Eden
In the film Back to Eden, gardener Paul Gautschi lays out his Christian-based principles of organic gardening in a way that can be described as “growing superior food with less cost and work.”
Paul has a unique gardening philosophy where he seeks to work with the land in natural ways that avoid synthetic chemicals and gets your garden to work for you (rather than the other way around).
There is also a book Growing Food God’s Way that goes into more detail about Paul’s approach to gardening.
17. Garden Tutor Free How to Garden Course
If you’re looking for a basic free gardening course designed for beginners, the Garden Tutor How to Garden Course could be right for you!
With eight modules covering all the important aspects of beginning a garden, this free course will be helpful to just about anyone.
Although the focus of the course seems to be more on ornamental plants like bushes and flowers, the Garden Tutor How to Garden Course could still be helpful to those more interested in vegetable gardening.
18. Survival Greenhouse Plan
If you’re looking to take your gardening to the next level, or have been thinking about adding a greenhouse to your garden, then the Survival Greenhouse Plan may be just for you!
This comprehensive manual guides you step-by-step with the construction of a compact 11.5’ by 12’ greenhouse. One of the key features of this design is that it can be powered either on-grid or off-grid using solar panels.
The guide provides you with complete plans, supply lists, photos and diagrams, and all the operating advice you need to construct the greenhouse from start to finish.
I have to say that this Survival Greenhouse Plan looks really intriguing. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “prepper,” this could be an ideal solution for growing your own food year round, and guarding against potential food shortages.
If you’re intrigued by the concept of aquaponics, you can check out Easy DIY Aquaponics system down below.
19. Grow, Cook Eat
Grow, Cook, Eat is a fairly new gardening video series on Amazon Prime.
This helpful series describes how to grow common vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots.
The Grow, Cook, Eat gardening videos are free with an Amazon Prime membership.
20. The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni
The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni is another excellent YouTube channel with loads of helpful gardening information.
James has been sharing gardening know-how videos since 2012 and focuses on doing organic gardening in a way that works with nature without pesticides and artificial chemicals.
Some of James’s gardening techniques seem similar to Paul Gautschi’s as discussed above under Back to Eden.
21. Easy DIY Aquaponics
I was unfamiliar with the concept of aquaponics but my husband researched this and believes it’s a really good renewable system for growing your own food.
Basically, aquaponics uses aquaculture (using aquatic plants and animals like fish for food) with hydroponics (the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil).
Aquaponics takes these two methods of farming and joins them together in a really impressive way. Although this process may seem like a big task, setting up a successful aquaponics system looks fairly simple if you have good instructions and basic construction skills.
I recently came across the Easy DIY Aquaponics system. This course teaches you how to build your own backyard aquaponics system with complete step-by-step installation instructions. (If you’re interested in aquaponics, be sure to also check out the Survival Greenhouse Plan up above.)
Although I would love to create an aquaponics system, this is probably something I’ll have to consider more down the road. But if you’re at all interested in aquaponics, the Easy DIY Aquaponics system looks really good!
22. Field Guide to Urban Gardening
Garden expert Kevin Espiritu lays out practical steps for gardening in cities in his Field Guide to Urban Gardening.
Kevin covers many different clever ways to maximize limited spaces to grow your own vegetables.
From raised beds to indoor edibles to hydroponics, the Field Guide to Urban Gardening is an amazing gardening resource for beginners!
23. Free Organic Gardening Course
The Smiling Gardener Free Organic Gardening Course by Phil Nauta covers the basics of organic gardening through written content and videos.
There is also a paid course that teaches more advanced organic gardening skills, but the free course will at least help lay a good foundation for understanding organic gardening basics.
Phil provides some really helpful information in the 19 different sections of his free course. It’s definitely one of the better free organic gardening courses available.
24. MIGardener Channel
Another outstanding YouTube gardening channel is MIGardener.
Publishing gardening videos since 2011, the MIGardener channel has excellent information on organic gardening.
There are so many practical and inspiring videos on the MIGardener channel!
25. Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
A more comprehensive online guide for beginning vegetable gardening is Vegetable Gardening for Beginners from Backyard Boss.
This is a very helpful free beginning gardening resource that covers the most important points when planning and starting a vegetable garden.
The Vegetable Gardening for Beginners guide is one of the best free guides available for beginning gardeners.
26. Get Growing with GrowVeg Channel
One more YouTube gardening channel that I recommend is the Get Growing with GrowVeg channel.
This channel has been producing organic gardening videos since 2009 and provides really good guidance for anyone getting started with gardening.
27. Gardener’s Supply Company How-To Articles
You can find an impressive list of how-to articles on the Gardener’s Supply Company website.
Covering a huge array of topics from small-space vegetable gardening to seed starting, weed control, and much more, this collection of gardening articles is top notch!
One article title that caught my eye was Our Front-Yard Vegetable Garden. This could be really useful for those who want to maximize their limited yard space.
28. Allotment Garden Vegetable Guides
The Allotment Garden Vegetable Growing Guides provide a very helpful set of articles about growing common (and a few not-so-common) vegetables.
Looking through their list of vegetable growing guides really makes me want to go out there and get gardening!
29. David Domoney Guides
British horticulturalist David Domoney has a number of useful online gardening guides.
David’s practical guides cover not only growing vegetables but also flowers, fencing, compost and more.
You can view David’s excellent gardening guides here.
30. What Herbs Should You Grow for Your Medicinal Herb Garden
In addition to growing vegetables in your garden, many of us also grow herbs to use for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Heidi with Rain Country has an excellent video called What Herbs Should You Grow for Your Medicinal Herb Garden.
Heidi provides some excellent information on different herbs that you can grow in your area based on health conditions and benefits you may be looking for.
31. Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Another free and helpful resource from The Old Farmer’s Almanac is Vegetable Gardening for Beginners.
This guide goes through the important steps of choosing where to grow and what to grow in your vegetable garden.
This is not a comprehensive resource but would be good when you are just starting out on your gardening journey.
32. Garden Tower Project Learning Center
Another outstanding free gardening resource for beginners is the Garden Tower Project Learning Center.
The Garden Tower Project is a small company focused on food security and sustainability. They offer many unique gardening tools and accessories, many of which are aimed at urban gardening in small spaces.
Their 50-Plant Garden Tower 2 is truly an ingenious way to grow a lot in a small space!
33. Four Seasons Nursery
I haven’t listed any other plant sources here, but felt compelled to include Four Seasons Nursery.
My husband has ordered from Four Seasons Nursery several times and has been very impressed with their products. Their prices on live plants are probably the best available. Their shipping time can be a little slow, so you’ll want to place your order quite a bit before you hope to receive your plants.
The plants we have received from Four Seasons Nursery have been in good shape and have grown very well. We’re really looking forward this year to enjoying the strawberries produced by the plants we bought last year from Four Seasons. All of the plants are looking very healthy!
Final Thoughts on Gardening for Beginners Resources
If you’re just getting started, this list of beginning gardener resources may seem a little overwhelming. If so, don’t worry! Just pick a few of these and go through them one by one.
If your budget is really tight, you could just focus on the free resources. If you’re ready to take the next step into beginning gardening, you might want to invest in books or courses.
Whatever you do, be sure to take action. Don’t worry if your results aren’t all you hope for in the first year or two.
As with any new skill, it takes time to learn the basics of gardening. Keep learning and trying and you’ll have a green thumb before you know it!
- Herb Gardening for Beginners
- How to Make Your Own Comfrey Salve
- Tips for Growing Tomatoes in a Home Garden
- My Mother’s Beautiful Garden